The time has come and you’ll be returning to work. Of course one of the most important considerations that accompany this decision is childcare. Yes, it can be a stress even thinking about how it’s going to work and who you’ll trust to take care of your precious child. Will it be a nanny? Is daycare a better choice? Should you go with a babysitter? These are just some of the questions that will likely go through the minds of parents who are returning to work. With all of the other elements related to working outside the home, including getting your wardrobe together, catching up on the latest technology and mentally preparing yourself for a change of pace, it’s no wonder that you may be feeling stressed. And with childcare one of the most critical and important decisions to make during this time, parents can rightfully feel overwhelmed.
Thankfully this does not have to be the case when you’re returning to work. By following a few simple tips, your return to the workplace can be a lot less stressful on both you and your child.
1) Do your research – Ask friends, family, neighbors and others about what they did when they returned to work. Do they have any referrals for child care providers or recommendations of who you should contact?
2) Weigh your options – What’s best for someone else might not necessarily be best for your family. A friend or family member may have made a specific choice based, for example, on their hours or employment or the availability of childcare in their area. Don’t feel pressured into choosing an option that doesn’t feel comfortable and right for you. If your gut feeling is to go with that specific daycare center or babysitter, then follow it and don’t worry what other people say. It’s your child, after all.
3) Assess your finances – Money is always a consideration when it comes to childcare. Sometimes what appears to be too good to be true, is; other times, what seems to be a high price is actually a good deal, when hourly time calculations are made. You may think that you can’t afford a nanny but it could actually be your best choice financially. Same goes for the choice of babysitter or daycare. Look at your finances, do a cost-benefit analysis and make your decision.
4) Consider your work commitments – Part of your decision-making process should include a realistic look at your work commitments and hours. For example, is your job a 9 to 5 gig or will it be expected that you work longer hours when necessary? Will you be working shifts, and if so, how will that fit into the childcare provider’s schedule? In these instances a nanny might make the best choice. Be realistic and honest with yourself when reviewing these questions and your answer will become crystal clear.
5) Family and friends – Sometimes family and friends offer their services for childcare to help you transition back to work. In some instances, it’s ideal – after all, grandma gets her fix and you get a break – sometimes it’s not. Some smart minds have warned us all to not mix business with family or friends, though it’s worked well for many. In other words, take a long hard look at the potential benefits as well as the potential problems with this type of arrangement and make your decision accordingly.